This "taking care of your own needs" thing is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
We just got back from nearly a week in San Francisco, followed by a frantic day of trying to do all of the normal things that one does - go to school, go to work, and so on - and today we are just hanging around not doing much of anything. The girls have spent most of the day watching television of varying quality, Kim has laid low trying to get rid of a headache, and I've been doing an exceptional job of avoiding all of the grading of papers that I have to do sometime this weekend.
But we had a very good time in San Francisco.
We left the house at 4:35am on Sunday in order to get to the airport in time for our flight and all of the assorted folderol that goes with flying these days. There was a time when flying meant getting dressed up rather than strip-searched, but that was a long time ago and you have to plan for how long it takes for all that nowadays.
And it might have been less stressful except for two things.
First, we left the house the second time at 4:55am, having gone back to get Kim's cell phone. And second, we got all the way into Milwaukee only to discover that the exit we needed to get off one highway and onto another headed toward the airport was closed for construction, so we had to wiggle our way through the city for a bit before we finally made it.
Then the line to check in was backed up pretty much all the way back to the non-functioning exit - an astonishing sight at 6:25am on a Sunday, really. Fortunately we only had one bag to check in, since they charge you for every bag these days, so that went fairly quickly. Security check went reasonably quickly as well, and then we got dressed and ran for the gate, where we made it onto the plane with about three minutes to spare. We even managed to convince people to move around so we could all sit together ("Hey, would you like to sit next to my daughter? She gets motion sick, but nothing you couldn't handle, really. Or we could trade? Your choice. Gee, thanks, mister!"). People can be surprisingly reasonable when given a chance.
And then we were airborne.
The flights were actually pretty uneventful, as you hope flights will be. We bounced our way to Kansas City, waited while our companions filed off and new ones filed on, and then flew relatively smoothly to San Francisco. The girls are pretty good travelers by now, and aside from Tabitha's refusal to do much to help her ears and a short discussion with Lauren about the precise difference between "We're descending" and "We're going down" when one is on an airplane, there isn't much to recall about the flights themselves.
Although there were some happy moments when the pretzels came out.
Uncle Wall-E (so nicknamed for his spot-on imitation of the robot) picked us up at the airport and took us back to the apartment he shares with Kim's brother Geoff, and we spent a nice day taking it easy and getting acclimated to the city.
Geoff and Dave live in the Mission District, which is sort of the concentrated essence of San Francisco in the sense of being a place where you have to recalibrate your Weird-Meter, otherwise you spend all of your time with it pegged into the red zone. It's a gloriously diverse and non-obvious place, by Wisconsin standards, and one of the many reasons we go there is to make sure that Tabitha and Lauren do not grow up confusing "familiar" with "normal" or "right" the way so many Americans seem to do these days. It's a big bright colorful world out there, folks - try not to see it in black and white.
After a delicious lunch of homemade beef stew we wandered over to a nearby park which, like most of San Francisco, sits at about a 45 degree angle. The girls ran around and burned off some energy while Kim, Dave and I (Geoff had to work that afternoon) sat and talked the way grownups insist on doing, much to the annoyance of children who have all that energy that needs to be burned up. It was a warm, sunny afternoon and we had a grand time not doing much of anything. That's what vacations are for, really.
After the park, Dave and I went to Trader Joe's to stock up on groceries for the week. It's an interesting store with lots of great stuff, though just about everything - from the baked goods to the cheeses to the wines and vegetables - is made with nuts. But we found some things that worked, because we are resourceful and clever shoppers.
After a lovely dinner of corned beef and cabbage with Denise, who lives in the apartment above, we finally crashed into a nice sleep. Geoff and Dave had set up a tent in the living room where the girls could sleep, much to their delight.
And there we were.